October 27, 2010

New biology, zoology specializations planned

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Students studying biology and zoology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale soon will be able to specialize in a variety of disciplines in those fields, allowing them to better focus on careers after graduation.

University leaders are creating a series of specializations under the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Zoology in the College of Science, as well as several for the Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences.

Beginning next summer, zoology students pursuing a bachelor’s degree can elect to specialize in animal biology, environmental biology, fisheries biology, pre-veterinarian science or wildlife biology.

In fall 2011, students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences can elect to specialize in biology education offered through the College of Science and the College of Education and Human Services. Students also may elect to specialize in biomedical science or ecology, offered through the College of Science.

The new specializations will open more opportunities to students who are looking to pursuing additional higher education, as well as those who may wish to enter the job market after earning their bachelor’s degree, said Jay C. Means, dean of the College of Science.

“We are trying to create a set of tracks that students could follow that would give them more guidance toward specific career paths,” Means said. In particular, the biology education specialization, for example, will give students who might not follow through on plans to become a veterinarian or doctor the option to teach biology instead.

“They could teach in high school, for instance,” Means said. Other specializations will prepare students to work in a biology laboratory or in the field for a state agency, such as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, for example.

“All those potential career tracks were available previously, but this will give students more guidance and mentoring by faculty working in those areas,” Means said. “It will better prepare our students for jobs in those areas, and their specialization will be identified for potential employers to see.”